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Harland & Wolff, a wholly owned subsidiary of InfraStrata plc, and soon to be known as Harland & Wolff Group Holdings plc, as Afloat previously reported has announced several key successes across its yards in Belfast and Appledore.

In addition to highlighting the progression it has seen in both the UK's Fleet Solid Support Warships and National Flagship competitions.

Harland & Wolff (Belfast)

The Harland & Wolff (Belfast) team provided its first major in-service support to Virgin Voyage’s new cruiseship Scarlet Lady. The team provided the necessary support efficiently and without having to take it out of operation. This is a significant step towards providing high value add services to clients whilst ensuring vessels remain in operation – saving clients’ money by avoiding dry dockings and the need to take vessels out of service.

The yard in Belfast Harbour is bolstering its global reputation as a large vessel ready facility that is open for business. Currently home to the P&O's Azura, the largest cruiseship to have entered the yard thus far.

At the facilities quayside of the Repair Dock, is also set to welcome Dorset Spirit, a crude oil tanker measuring over 279 meters in length. Sailing from Canada to Harland & Wolff for repair works, this is the first time since the acquisition of the assets in 2019 that a vessel of this size will enter the yard's Building Dock.

Harland & Wolff (Appledore)

At Harland & Wolff (Appledore), the company's facility in north Devon, England, awaits the arrival of MT Entsha, an offshore supply ship, which is expected to arrive during the third week of October. Fabrication work has already commenced on a major crane upgrade and mezzanine deck as part of its wider conversion works that will be undertaken once the vessel has docked. This project effectively reactivates Harland & Wolff (Appledore)’s fabrication halls and demonstrates its readiness to take on larger and more complex works programmes.

Team Resolute

As reported in the press, Team Resolute has been down-selected by the Ministry of Defence for the Fleet Solid Support Programme and has been invited into the next phase of the programme – the Commercial Procurement Phase (CPP). Harland & Wolff is an integral part of Team Resolute and will be participating in the first stage, the design stage, within the CPP, alongside BMT and Navantia.

National Flagship

As the UK Government launched the National Shipbuilding Office earlier this week, an announcement was made that the Harland & Wolff led consortium that includes Foreship and SMC has been successfully down-selected for the design phase of the prestigious National Flagship Programme. The ship will be built in the UK with construction expected to begin as soon as next year.

John Wood, Group CEO of commented: “It is fantastic to see multiple contracts being awarded to Harland & Wolff across Belfast and Appledore. These range from minor “bread & butter” type of works to major contracts that have the capacity to grow even more in value over time. We are now being recognised as a shipyard business that is professional, cost effective and customer attentive. This recognition is clearly demonstrated by a series of new client wins and repeat business from our existing clients. Looking ahead, I believe that we have laid the firm foundations for rapid growth and the build-up of a contractual pipeline for 2022 and beyond.”

Published in Shipyards

Parent company of Harland & Wolff has said it is ready to bid for an estimated £30m 10-year deal to dry-dock, repair and maintain two giant UK Royal Navy 'Queen Elizabeth' class aircraft carriers.

InfraStrata shut down large parts of its Belfast dockyard for four months last year to carry out maintenance and upgrades to ensure the shipyard was in a strong position to bid for the lucrative contract.

The yard will face opposition from one other facility, Rosyth on the east coast of Scotland, where the two 'QE' carriers were built.

More from the Belfast Telegraph.

As Afloat previously reported the pair of QE aircraft carriers, had involved sections of the vessels to be built throughout various yards, among them Appledore Shipyard.

The north Devon facility which built a quartet of OPV90 'P60' class for the Irish Naval Service, was last year acquired by Infrastrata.

Published in Shipyards

Belfast's iconic Harland & Wolff shipyard, has announced the appointment of a new General Manager, Tom Hart to its Appledore shipyard in England, which was acquired a year ago.

Bringing over 30 years of experience in project, operations and construction management throughout the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates, Mr Hart joins Harland & Wolff (Appledore) from Dubai based, Drydocks World where he was Director of Projects & Engineering.

He joins after the site has enjoyed major investment and upgrades since the InfraStrata plc acquisition and is now fully operational.

Mr Hart began his career in the Merchant Navy as a cadet before moving to P&O Ferries, where he rose through the ranks from Marine Engineer to Chief Engineer.

Moving shore-side, he then headed to the UAE to join Dubai Drydocks as a Ship Repair Manager. During his time in Dubai, Mr Hart moved from drydocks into the oil and gas industry, where he project managed new-build jack-up oil rigs and offshore wind turbine installation ships with MIS & Lamprell Energy. He also held various other positions such as Commissioning Manager and Group Operations Manager, where he ran three shipyards.

Mr Hart then returned to Dubai Dry Drydocks for a final two-year stint as Director of Project Management & Engineering.

Now in his role as General Manager, based in Appledore, North Devon, Mr Hart will be responsible for the overall day-to-day running of the site. This includes the organisation and logistics for all incoming projects, site safety and security as well as overseeing all monetary aspects.

Tom Hart commented: “Leaving Dubai to move “home” after 20 years was a huge decision but one that I, along with my family, are very excited about. I’m really looking forward to settling in at Appledore, and hope to share some great practices, and skills I have gained from my international experience to build up British shipbuilding and ship repair and be a part of its revitalisation. Building up business, creating work for the local community and increasing the yard’s revenue and margins with a steady flow of work will be my main goal. I am delighted to be appointed General Manager of Harland & Wolff (Appledore) – a yard with a very impressive history. I am looking forward to leading the team there and collectively bringing success to the Harland and Wolff Group.”

Harland & Wolff is a multisite fabrication company, operating in the maritime and offshore industry through five sectors: commercial, cruise and ferry, defence, oil & gas and renewables and six services: technical services, fabrication and construction, decommissioning, repair and maintenance, in–service support and conversion.

Its Belfast yard is one of Europe’s largest heavy engineering facilities, with deep water access, two of Europe’s largest drydocks, ample quayside and vast fabrication halls.

As a result of the acquisition of Harland & Wolff (Appledore) in August 2020, the company has been able to capitalise on opportunities at both ends of the ship-repair and shipbuilding markets where this will be significant demand.

In February 2021, the company acquired the assets of two Scottish based yards along the east and west coasts. Now known as Harland & Wolff (Methil) and Harland & Wolff (Arnish), these facilities will focus on fabrication work within the renewable, oil and gas and defence sectors.

Harland & Wolff is a wholly-owned subsidiary of InfraStrata plc (AIM: INFA), a London Stock Exchange-listed firm focused on strategic infrastructure projects and physical asset life-cycle management.

In addition to Harland & Wolff, it owns the Islandmagee gas storage project, which is expected to provide 25% of the UK’s natural gas storage capacity and to benefit the Northern Irish economy as a whole when completed.

Published in Shipyards

Shipyard Harland & Wolff has launched an apprenticeship scheme that is available across all of their four sites either side of the North Channel and the Irish Sea.

The scheme is applicable to H&W Appledore, Arnish, Belfast and Methil, with the first intake of apprentices arriving on site in September 2021.

Applications will close at 5pm 21 May 2021.

To apply, prospective employees must complete the application form which can be found under the Apprentices page on the Harland & Wolff website. At this time, CVs will not be considered.

For successful candidates, the next stage will include an online assessment followed by an assessment day and interview on site.

We will be looking for team players who are motivated with good communication and practical skills. Prospective apprentices must also have five GCSEs/Standard Grades/Nationals or equivalent including Maths, English, Technical, Craft.

Kelly O’Rourke, Group Director of Human Resources commented: “I am very excited to be launching our first Harland & Wolff multi-site apprenticeship scheme which will be a key aspect of our development into the future.

This scheme uniquely offers apprenticeships across all four Harland & Wolff sites and the opportunity to build a career in a number of industry areas. Our apprentices will work alongside our highly experienced workforce, transferring valuable skills to the next generation.

We are aiming to recruit from local communities, as well as those from a wide range of backgrounds and talents as we seek to develop a diverse workforce.”

Published in Shipyards
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Employees according to Belfast Telegraph, have returned to work at Harland and Wolff after the sale of the closure-threatened shipyard.

There were cheers as the remaining staff walked through the gates in Belfast at 9am.

It followed a nine-week campaign which saw a worker-led round-the-clock occupation of the historic site – where Titanic was built – after it was placed into administration over the summer.

Workers claimed victory earlier this week when it was announced that a buyer had been found.

Harland and Wolff has been bought for £6 million by InfraStrata, a London-based company that specialises in energy infrastructure projects.

Steel worker and GMB shop steward Barry Reid described Thursday morning at the shipyard gates as “the day we prayed would come”.

Click this link for further details on this development. 

Published in Belfast Lough

Shipyard Harland & Wolff has taken a step closer to survival with confirmation that the consortium to which it belongs has been awarded a £1.25bn contract to build new warships.

As the News Letter reports, East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson described the decision – giving the green light for the Babcock-led consortium to build the Type 31e Royal Navy frigates – as a “boon” for the Belfast shipyard and said it was “hugely encouraging”.

The news come as Belfast Harbour launched a strategic plan to invest £254 million in new infrastructure which will help generate 7,000 new jobs.

The development at Harland & Wolff is a vital lifeline for a company that went into administration just over a month ago.

For more click here on the story

Published in Belfast Lough
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A formal legal process to place Harland and Wolff into administration will be completed later today.

As the BBC News reports an insolvency request is expected to be filed at the High Court in Belfast.

On Monday, the company announced that accountancy firm BDO had been appointed administrators to the Belfast shipyard.

Having employed more than 30,000 at its peak, the move could now put 120 jobs at risk and spell the end of the iconic firm, best known for building the Titanic.

Unions representing workers have called for the shipyard to be renationalised, arguing it would be cheaper for the government to keep the shipyard open.

However, the government has said the crisis is "ultimately a commercial issue".

For more on this story in addition to the history of the famous shipyard click here.

Published in Belfast Lough
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An emergency meeting is to be held by Belfast Council on Friday in a bid to help save the historic Harland and Wolff shipyard from closure.

The meeting writes Belfast Telegraph has been called by SDLP councillor Brian Heading and Green party councillor Anthony Flynn and will take place at City Hall at 1.30pm.

They have tabled a motion which would see the council convene an urgent forum between Trade Unions, Invest NI, the Department for the Economy and the UK Government to secure the future of the shipyard.

Administrators are set to be appointed at Harland and Wolff on Monday.

Since the news was announced members of the shipyard's 130 staff have protested at the gates in Belfast docks, calling for an intervention to save it from closure.    

The newspaper has more here on the story. 

Published in Belfast Lough

BBC News reports that the UK government has said that the crisis at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast is "ultimately a commercial issue".

Unions say the yard is at imminent risk of closure and have called for it to be nationalised.

A government spokesperson said there was "every sympathy for the workers". They added that the government will "do all it can" to offer support.

It is understood administrators are now expected to arrive on Monday.

The firm's Norwegian parent company Dolphin Drilling is having serious financial problems and put Harland and Wolff up for sale late last year.

There were exclusive negotiations with a potential buyer but they cooled in the last two weeks.

For more on the 'commercial issue' click here. 

Published in Belfast Lough

Harland and Wolff workers, writes BBC News, have closed the shipyard's gates as part of a protest following news that the business is up for sale.

They have demanded Boris Johnson's government renationalise the yard and saves their jobs.

The protest began on Monday afternoon and has continued into the night.

The Unite union said workers decided to take this action ahead of the expected arrival of administrators on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Norwegian parent company of Harland and Wolff said the company had no comment to make at this stage.

For more on the story, click here.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

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